Policy at the Academy of Social Sciences and its Campaign for Social Science

23 March 2016

We are glad to announce that Sharon Witherspoon MBE FAcSS will be the Acting Head of Policy across both the Academy and Campaign from today [23 March 2016].

Sharon worked for several years in applied social science research, designing and carrying out evaluations of government programmes, and serving as part of the original research team on the British Social Attitudes survey. She was at the Nuffield Foundation for 19 years, first leading its programmes of social research and social policy, and then serving for three years as its Director. She also led the development of the Q-Step programme to improve quantitative research skills for UK social science undergraduates, funded jointly by the Nuffield Foundation, the ESRC and HEFCE. She has served on various public committees concerned with the health of the social sciences, and on various RAE and REF Committees.

Sharon was awarded an MBE for services to social science in 2008, the British Academy President’s Medal for services to social science in 2011, and an honorary doctorate by University College London in 2015. She is currently Deputy Chair of the Administrative Data Research Network Board, convened by the UK Statistics Authority.

Sharon succeeds David Walker FAcSS. We should like to thank him for all he contributed over the past period, from responding to consultations to giving oral evidence, not least his work on the Campaign’s seminal Business of People report. We wish him well in the future.

Dr Ashley Thomas Lenihan will also join as a Senior Policy Adviser from 11th April. She is a Fellow at the Centre for International Studies at the London School of Economics, a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Law, Science, & Global Security at Georgetown University, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has undertaken a variety of consultancy work in the international policy arena over the last five years. Her research and writing is focused on the international political economy of security, and the relationship between evidence and policy.

She was previously a Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute, where she served as the Director of the Legatum Prosperity Index, and began her career as an investment banking analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston in London. She has her Ph.D. in Government, and her B.S. in Foreign Service, from Georgetown University.

Sharon and Ashley will work together in the policy area.